Monday, 21 October 2013

Etiquette part 2

What is perceived to be rude in one culture is not a big issue in another. One year I worked in the lost luggage department of Nice airport. There were two things that would annoy my French colleagues more than anything else. A passenger would come to the desk obviously distressed and worried that their luggage hadn’t appeared on the belt. ‘My luggage didn’t arrive’ the mostly northern European would start, losing them all goodwill with my colleague. After saying ‘Bonjour monsieur’ demonstrative my colleague would curtly take their details while muttering under their breath ‘it doesn’t hurt to be polite.’  It doesn’t bother me so much, we northern Europeans like to get to the point quickly, but if you want to get good friendly service here in France you have to start with a bonjour.
The other thing that got my colleagues riled up was the comment after some waiting on luggage, whether we were on strike. After about 5 occasions that started to annoy me too. Mostly those remarks resulted in us closing the desk and going for a quick coffee, rather than suffer the snide remarks. The Passenger meanwhile thought we might be going behind the scenes to speed up the delivery of luggage. I knew the baggage handlers would probably have 2 arrivals at the same time and would get to it once the other plane was unloaded and there was nothing else we could do.
This leads me to finish with bizarre things people forget to take of the belt or get delivered by mistake. It is beyond me why you would forget to uplift your lawnmower or riffle. I don’t think the customer who ordered eight boxes of meat from the USA would have been very happy that his boxes got put with the passenger’s baggage on the belt instead of going to freight and their refrigeration unit. It spend the whole morning in the hot baggage hall before some customs and security could be found to take it to freight. I would just advise all passengers on airlines to label their luggage and please avoid putting perishables in your suitcase.